The AIA in New Orleans has selected a scheme for their annual competition, a call for an intervention that infuses energy into its city. This year, the winning entry is by Gernot Riether and his digital design build studio at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Using glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (PETG) to create custom panels that compose a skin, these illuminated enclosures are meant to be deployed in areas of the New Orlean’s famous French Quarter.


…the 18 sqm pavilion comprises 320 different PETG cells. The cells were prefabricated and assembled into six larger components, designed to stack and fit into a small truck, and to be installed in less than two days by Riether and eight students. The pavilion cost $2,500 to build.

The pavilion’s geometry distorts in response to specific site conditions, solar orientation and programmatic requirements, such as lighting, seating, viewing, planting and water harvesting, with each of the cells shaped by scripted rules. Using CNC technology, each template was cut from PETG sheets, before being thermoformed into shape using a neatly designed adaptable mould.

Pinching and reconnecting the surface was used as a technique to increase the structural performance of the envelope. At strategic locations the skin morphs into bracing and column like systems. Structure and building envelop are combined into a single material system.